Spartans of UD: Eric Jones

Mar 10, 2021

Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.

Eric Jones is a residence hall director in Cassat Hall and an adjunct professor. He is also enrolled in UD's certificate program in organizational diversity and inclusion leadership. In the fall, Jones will begin a doctor of education program in higher education and leadership studies at Edgewood College.

1. Why were you interested in the residence hall director position at the University of Dubuque?

“I was interested in the residence hall director position after I decided to make a career change in the summer of 2019. Right after graduation, I had goals of becoming a licensed clinical social worker and working with individuals who suffer from mental health illnesses and sexual abuse. However, after some troubling experiences at my alma mater, it was time for me to explore another path that I wanted to take in my life and I had been heavily involved in residence and student life when I was in college. I knew that I could take my leadership skills and experiences to a role in the Office of Residence Life and I stumbled upon the position of residence hall director. I applied on a Sunday and then within a week, I was hired.”

2. Residence hall directors work cooperatively to assist students in taking advantage of academic, cultural, spiritual, physical, and social opportunities on campus. What do you hope students in Cassat Hall will gain from your guidance and support?

“I want to make sure students are understanding the reality of college and what it entails. College is not all about what is glorified on social media and TV shows. You build meaningful relationships, create endless memories, immerse yourself with different cultures and individuals, and grow from your first year to final year of college. This year, I made sure that I knew all the residents in the building by simply introducing myself and letting them know that I am here to help them through their college journey. Some of them are in my classes that I teach and I have been able to get to know them on a personal level. College is all about finding yourself and taking advantage of opportunities that are given to you. Also, I want to direct students to the resources on campus that help enhance their success, I want them to excel in the classroom, and I want to give them the tools for after college.”

3. The Office of Residence Life implemented new protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff continue to work tirelessly in their commitment to the safety and security of every student who calls UD home. Can you share some of the extraordinary work that has gone on behind the scenes?

“Within the Office of Residence Life, Dean of Student Formation Mike Durnin has been doing a great job keeping track of the COVID-19 numbers and ensuring that students are educated and informed on the protocols, procedures, and differences between isolation and quarantine. In addition to his great leadership, the residence hall directors have signs up in regards to the limitation of how many people can be in the lobby and other common areas. Also, there is signage on the floors that remind residents they need to wear a mask as they are walking in the hall and let them know that they cannot have visitors at all. We do meet as residence life staff to stay updated on new procedures and follow what the CDC has reported in their findings. Essentially, we are all working as team to ensure that students are safe and healthy during these times.”

4. How have you been inspired by your co-workers and/or students this academic year?

“My co-workers are all intelligent, open-minded, and understanding. They have provided me with great insight whether it is on life decisions, implementing new ways to engage with my staff, or just being here when I am having a bad day. I can say that Rachel Sprayberry, interim director of housing and residence hall director, has been a great leader within our department. She has been able to provide me with different perspectives on how to handle my residents and my RA staff. I can call her at any time of the day and she will answer and help me if I am struggling. I want to give a shout out to everyone in the office: Mary Kruser, Dean Mike Durnin, Rachel Sprayberry, Katie Bailey, Brigette Kyei-Nimakoh, and Katie Reid. Thank you for being on my side and helping me through my journey at the University of Dubuque; there have been times where I have doubted myself and if I can do this job. I learned that I will make mistakes as a residence hall director and I do not need to be perfect. I have learned from those mistakes and will avoid making them again. My co-workers have provided me with insightful advice and life lessons that I will carry on for the rest of my time in higher education. Everyone in this department works hard and does well in their role; I couldn’t ask for a better staff. I’m inspired by their industrious work ethic and their motivation to be the best they can be.”

5. Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why?

“I have really enjoyed stopping by Sylvia’s Common Ground and interacting with the workers. I am so addicted to Starbucks and rushing before class to get my coffee. However, once I stepped foot into Sylvia’s, all the workers were respectful, professional, and always suggesting new drinks and flavors to try. I find this spot to be a great addition to the campus because individuals can come and get good coffee or refresher for a reasonable price.”